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PetSmart set to open Berks County distribution center

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Lt. Gov. Jim Cawley joined PetSmart CEO David Lenhardt and U.S. Rep. Charlie Dent, R-Pa., this morning to celebrate the grand opening of the company's new distribution center in Berks County.

The facility is off Interstate 78 in Bethel Township in the Berks Park 78 industrial park. It is expected to employ about 500 people.

Ground was broken for construction of the $50 million, 870,000-square-foot facility in October 2012. PetSmart officials have said there are plans for a 200,880-square-foot expansion to the facility in 2016.

Officials have said the distribution center will serve 25 percent of PetSmart’s stores in 11 states and eastern Canada by handling and delivering consumable goods, hard goods and fish. Founded in 1987 and headquartered in Phoenix, Petsmart has several stories in the midstate area.

The industrial park -- also home to a $100 million, 907,000-square-foot distribution center built by Dollar General -- has seen investment snowball. Last April, Nevada-based Dermody Properties purchased 89.2 acres in the 323-acre park from the Berks County Industrial Development Authority for $7.5 million for a build-to-suit or potentially a speculative building for industrial uses.

The I-78 park, which is not far from Interstate 81, has been owned by the authority since 2004. Officials have said the Berks County development could spur further developments all along the I-81 and I-78 corridors.

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